Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
2 DB clean and press 60lb x 2, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1
treadmill 2.0 miles 8.0 incline 19:48
This treadmill run at a steep incline was brutal. Try it sometime if you are getting bored of the treadmill (I know I am - when will the snow melt?).
My friend Paul has been writing a great weather blog for the Reno/Tahoe area for a couple of years now. He recently upgraded his website and set up an e-mail feed service. His stuff is interesting to read and much more accurate than the local weather forecasters. Check his blog out at tahoeweatherblog.com
Here is an article from the Wall Street Journal about keeping your New Year's resolutions.
A Cheat Sheet for Keeping Resolutions - WSJ
It is no secret that the odds against keeping a New Year's resolution are steep. Only about 19% of people who make them actually stick to their vows for two years, according to research led by John Norcross, a psychology professor at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.
Their stories illustrate several rules for success. Contrary to popular belief, the secret isn't willpower, Dr. Norcross says; people who rely on hopes, wishes or desire actually fail at a higher rate than others. Instead, the successful resolution-keepers made specific, concrete action plans to change their daily behavior.
"Getting 'psyched up' is helpful for creating motivation before Jan. 1; but after the New Year comes, it's perspiration time," Dr. Norcross says. Three of the winners made changes in their environment at home or work. Two make a habit of rewarding themselves for small successes. Three have benefited greatly by tapping other people for support. And while all faced lapses and setbacks, they expected them and didn't allow discouragement to creep in. Here are the principles they followed:
Take one step at a time. Too many people "make large resolutions, such as losing 40 pounds by March, that are just too hard to accomplish," says Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology at DePaul University, Chicago, and author of a forthcoming book on avoiding procrastination. Most do better if they break big goals into small steps.
Get a little help from your friends.
Change your environment. Another catalyst of change is to alter your surroundings to support your new behavior. Tracking your progress by recording or charting it also helps, Dr. Norcross says.
Announce your intentions. After trying and failing repeatedly to build meditation into his routine, Mr. McGuinness raised the stakes on New Year's Day, 2008: He published his resolution to thousands of readers of his blog at www.wishfulthinking.co.uk. The public commitment has made the difference, he says. When he feels like shirking, he asks himself, "what am I going to tell my blog readers?" (Ken's note - Hey, that works for me!)
Figure out your attachment to bad habits. We often become attached to old behaviors because they benefit us in some way. Psychologists advise figuring out what your bad behaviors do for you and finding healthier substitutes. If you overeat to ease stress, for example, start practicing deep breathing or meditation.
Expect setbacks. People who fail at resolutions, Dr. Norcross says, tend to criticize or blame themselves for slipups. In contrast, each of the resolution-keepers I interviewed brushed off the inevitable setbacks and got quickly back on track.
Picture of the Day
Monday, December 28, 2009
2 DB clean and press 60lb x 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1
summit trainer 15 resistance 1.0 mile 16:06
The last few posts have been focused on setting goals, now it's time to implement. I am going to start by using myself as an example, and share my 2010 training plan. Well, it's actually only the plan for the first 3 months of 2010. I have found it is more effective to put together a 3 month program and then reassess from there instead of trying to predict what you will want to do for an entire 12 month period.
The plan itself is pretty short (In my opinion, any worthwhile plan should fit on an index card). But I will add some rationale for each aspect of the plan, so it looks longer here.
Because it is fun to see what other people are working on, I will interview some more Consistency Wins readers in the coming days/weeks and post their training plans as well. That should help the people I interview too, because nothing keeps you focused like having 100 people read your training program.
Ken's Training Program for 2010 (the first three months)
My training theme will be "quick, brutal and efficient". I will focus on high intensity workouts that typically last 30 minutes or less. Most workouts need to be accomplished with an intensity level that leaves me completely exhausted at the end of the workout. Maybe once or twice per week I will throw in a lighter effort workout for recovery, depending how my body feels.
The majority of weight training will be focused on the two dumbbell clean and press done with heavy weight on nearly a daily basis. This "grease the groove" approach fits my consistent training philosophy and I saw great results from doing this with handstand pushups the last three months.
The dumbbell clean and press hits all upper and lower body parts in a single, efficient exercise. I will use primarily 60lb dumbbells (at this point I can do 2 reps with that weight). I ordered a set of 60's for my home so I can easily do these daily. The ultimate goal would be to do 12 reps with 75lb dumbbells (I will write more about this in a day or two).
The bulk of the program will include heavy interval training such as sprints, row intervals, tempo runs (a max speed 2-5 mile run) and sessions on the summit trainer at high resistance. Summit trainer days will effectively be leg strength days, so I will also typically include heavy dumbell walking lunges or strip sets on the leg press.
From a diet perspective, I will eat clean, with a heavy protein bias. I am not going to be strict on measuring portions, just eat as much as I can and try to keep simple carbs and sugars to a minimum. This will support my goal to gain some weight this year.
The intent of this program is to emphasize functional strength, size and speed. I figure if I can lift 120 pounds of dumbbells off the ground and over my head for multiple reps, that will take care of strength and muscle size. The speed work is intended to support my goal of running races this year with faster times than last year, at about 10-15 pounds higher bodyweight.
I spent most of last year between 170-175 pounds bodyweight. I would like to get to about 185 pounds with similar bodyfat percentage. I have gained about 10 pounds of fairly solid muscle in the last couple of months (I am about 180 right now). My eating, lifting and interval training plan is designed to help me gain the extra 5 pounds and maintain low bodyfat.
I find that I work best when planning only 2-3 workouts in advance, and being flexible as far as how my body feels, life schedule etc. So I don't like setting out a "run Monday, lift Tuesday" kind of program. Rather, I will try to make sure each week includes the following training sessions (I typically train 6 days per week):
- Nearly daily (4-6 times per week) 2 dumbbell clean and press with 60lb dumbbells. Typically between 5-10 total reps, increasing as I get stronger.
- One tempo run (2-5 miles, fast as possible)
- One interval running day (track sprints, etc)
- Leg weight and summit trainer day (leg strength day)
- One interval training day with something other than running (rowing, plyometrics, etc)
- The other two days will depend on how my body feels, upcoming race schedules, etc. I could add another running day as races approach, or another summit trainer day if my legs are beat up from running, etc. Each workout should be focused on the main goals of high intensity, functional strength and a strong cardio emphasis.
I plan on running three key races next year (I might throw some others in for fun, but that will be more spur of the moment). The races are the Rock n' River 10k in Reno in early May, the Napa to Sonoma half marathon on July 19, and the Journal Jog (8k) in the third week of September.
While I will increase running frequency as the weather gets better and these races approach, I don't intend to run more than 10-15 miles per week total. This is unconventional running preparation, but I think fewer, highly intense miles run will support my other training goals and enable me to still run well in these races.
After 3 months I will reassess my progress and motivation and make changes as necessary. However, I expect any changes I make will still fit within this year's theme of "quick, brutal and efficient."
Picture of the Day
row 2000 meters (5) 7:54.1
rest 4 minutes
row 2000 meters (5) 7:45
1/2 ab circuit
Here is an article about how distance running is in our genes.
Ultramarathons - Fine Country for Old Men - The Salt Lake Tribune
Gates will race his 25th Wasatch Front 100-mile Endurance Run on Friday, his 52nd birthday. No one has finished Utah's storied footrace, among the nation's most competitive "ultramarathons," as many times.
If he can finish this grueling race, with its nearly 27,000 feet of elevation gain and loss, Gates might have his genes to thank -- or blame, depending on your perspective. He and other Wasatch 100 die-hards, such as David Blaylock, Dana Miller and Betsy Nye, are living proof supporting new theories that running propelled human evolution 2 million years ago.
One architect of this theory is University of Utah biology professor emeritus Dennis Bramble, who first advanced it in a groundbreaking 2004 Nature article with Harvard anthropologist Dan Lieberman. Bramble has since mined finishing times from prestigious marathons to document how runners maintain strong performance levels into advanced age.
"You see a steep curve at 18 and peaking at late 20s and early 30s. What is interesting is what is happening after that. It's a long, slow decline that stays steady until about 60," Bramble says. Marathoners at 55 still were achieving results within 75 percent of those at the peak-age group, and were neck and neck with those in their early 20s.
"In some of these ultras [races longer than the marathon's 26.2 miles], older runners, particularly women, do especially well," Bramble says.
Cases in point » Consider Gates. In his 1984 Wasatch debut at age 26, he ran the course in 27 hours, 45 minutes. He achieved comparable times for the next 12 years, recording his fastest -- 25:35 -- in 1994 at age 38. He has seen a gradual, though unsteady, decline since but he still beats the 36-hour cutoff with plenty of room.
Lieberman and Bramble hypothesize that the ability to run long distances gave early humans a selective advantage when they began leaving the forests of East Africa 2 million years ago and roamed savannahs in pursuit of an omnivorous diet. Running helped these early humans not only cover a great deal of ground in search of food, but also would have enabled them to chase down kudu, gazelle and other fleet game animals whose meat provided high-quality nutrition, Lieberman says.
Both men agree that the human animal is nature's greatest endurance athlete on land.
So while pronghorn -- the Usain Bolt of the West's high desert -- fall apart after 15 kilometers, slow old Rick Gates can keep running, mile after mile, hour after hour.
Slow running is exactly how Rick Gates competes and trains, putting in just 25 trail miles a week.
"I've never been fast," he says. "I sort of shuffle. I don't have a long stride."
Besides the insane distances he races, Gates' running diverges from that of our ancient forebears in another crucial way.
"They did it because they needed to," Lieberman says, "not because they wanted to."
Picture of the Day
Sunday, December 27, 2009
2 dumbbell clean and press 60lb x 1, 1, 1, 1, 1
run 4 miles treadmill 27:53
My posts this week will continue to focus on the "manage your life" theme as opposed to training related stuff. Seems timely just before the New Year. There will be plenty of workout related items coming in January.
I don't totally agree with everything in this article, but it does have some good things to think about -- Slow Down to Enjoy Life - Zen Habits
I don’t usually read forwarded email, but I received one today that caught my attention. It was written by someone who works at Volvo in Sweden, and he mentions how any project in the company “takes 2 years to be finalized, even if the idea is simple and brilliant. It’s a rule.”
He relates the following story:
The first time I was in Sweden, one of my colleagues picked me up at the hotel every morning. It was September, bit cold and snowy. We would arrive early at the company and he would park far away from the entrance (2000 employees drive their car to work). The first day, I didn’t say anything, either the second or third. One morning I asked, “Do you have a fixed parking space? I’ve noticed we park far from the entrance even when there are no other cars in the lot.” To which he replied, “Since we’re here early we’ll have time to walk, and whoever gets in late will be late and need a place closer to the door. Don’t you think? Imagine my face.
He goes on to talk about a movement in Europe named Slow Food, which “establishes that people should eat and drink slowly, with enough time to taste their food, spend time with the family, friends, without rushing. Slow Food is against its counterpart: the spirit of Fast Food and what it stands for as a lifestyle.”
I love this idea. It is what is at the heart of the simplicity movement, as well as those who are trying to live frugal lives. It’s not just a matter of reducing clutter or saving money … it’s a matter of slowing down to enjoy life more, of savoring life’s simple pleasures, of rejecting on some level the materialistic culture we are all caught up in and embracing fellow humans instead. It is about changing our values and priorities.
He goes on:
Basically, the movement questions the sense of “hurry” and “craziness” generated by globalization, fueled by the desire of “having in quantity” (life status) versus “having with quality”, “life quality” or the “quality of being”. French people, even though they work 35 hours per week, are more productive than Americans or British. Germans have established 28.8 hour workweeks and have seen their productivity been driven up by 20%. This slow attitude has brought forth the US’s attention, pupils of the fast and the “do it now!”.
This no-rush attitude doesn’t represent doing less or having a lower productivity. It means working and doing things with greater quality, productivity, perfection, with attention to detail and less stress. It means reestablishing family values, friends, free and leisure time. Taking the “now”, present and concrete, versus the “global”, undefined and anonymous. It means taking humans’ essential values, the simplicity of living.
It stands for a less coercive work environment, more happy, lighter and more productive where humans enjoy doing what they know best how to do. It’s time to stop and think on how companies need to develop serious quality with no-rush that will increase productivity and the quality of products and services, without losing the essence of spirit.
Many of us live our lives running behind time, but we only reach it when we die of a heart attack or in a car accident rushing to be on time. Others are so anxious of living the future that they forget to live the present, which is the only time that truly exists. We all have equal time throughout the world. No one has more or less. The difference lies in how each one of us does with our time. We need to live each moment. As John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.
Picture of the Day
Saturday, December 26, 2009
2 dumbbell clean and press
40lb x 5, 50lb x 5, 55lb x 5, 60lb x 1, 1, 1, 1
leg press drop set (do 10 reps, immediately drop weight, do 10 more, etc)
10 x 300lb, 10 x 240 lb, 10 x 200lb, 10 x 160lb, 10 x 100lb
2 dumbbell clean and press
60lb x 2, 1, 1, 1
leg press drop set (do 10 reps, immediately drop weight, do 10 more, etc)
10 x 300lb, 10 x 200 lb, 10 x 100lb
I just messed around at the gym today. I am putting together my training program for the first few months on 2010, and I wanted to try some weight lifting exercises that I haven't done in awhile. I will keep things pretty light this next week, and then hit it hard in January.
Staying with the theme of planning for next year, here is a post about setting goals: How to Set Goals - Mind Tools
Setting Goals Effectively
The way in which you set goal strongly affects their effectiveness. The following broad guidelines apply to setting effective goals:
Positive Statement: express your goals positively: 'Execute this technique well' is a much better goal than 'don't make this stupid mistake'
Be Precise: if you set a precise goal, putting in dates, times and amounts so that achievement can be measured, then you know the exact goal to be achieved, and can take complete satisfaction from having completely achieved it.
Set Priorities: where you have several goals, give each a priority. This helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by too many goals, and helps to direct your attention to the most important ones. Write goals down to avoid confusion and give them more force.
Keep Operational Goals Small: Keep the goals you are working towards immediately (i.e. in this session) small and achievable. If a goal is too large, then it can seem that you are not making progress towards it. Keeping goals small and incremental gives more opportunities for reward. Today's goals should be derived from larger goals.
Set Performance, not Outcome Goals
This is very important. You should take care to set goals over which you have as much control as possible - there is nothing as dispiriting as failing to achieve a personal goal for reasons beyond your control such as bad business environments, poor judging, bad weather, injury, or just plain bad luck. Goals based on outcomes are extremely vulnerable to failure because of things beyond your control.
Set Specific Goals
Set specific measurable goals. If you achieve all conditions of a measurable goal, then you can be confident and comfortable in its achievement. If you consistently fail to meet a measurable goal, then you can adjust it or analyse the reason for failure and take appropriate action to improve skills.
Setting Goals at the Right Level
Setting goals at the correct level is a skill that is acquired by practice.
You should set goals so that they are slightly out of your immediate grasp, but not so far that there is no hope of achieving them: no-one will put serious effort into achieving a goal that they believe is unrealistic. However, remember that the belief that a goal is unrealistic may be incorrect. Such a belief can be changed by effective use of imagery.
Picture of the Day
This is from the world paragliding championships in South America.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I was going to get a workout in today, but I forgot how much harder interval training and speed work is on your body. When I woke up this morning, I felt like I had been hit by a truck. So, my body made the decision that today would be a rest day. It has been great to get started on some of the interval and leg weight work in December so my body will adapt more quickly when I get serious in January.
Here is another nice holiday post from Zen Habits about prioritizing things in your life.
Zen Habits - How to Focus on What Truly Matters
The post is pretty long, so here is a summary of the key points:
What does my life look like ten years from now? looking ten years down the road and imagining what I want helps me focus my energies today to make it happen tomorrow.
What is my purpose? If you have determined your life’s mission, that provides a foundation for where you should be spending your time – along with the activities, and ends, you should be focusing on.
What excites me? Sometimes we are scared to admit to ourselves what we really want to do, and who we really want to be because it’s not popular, or because it’s not as secure as the job we have. Deep down however, we know what excites us. We know what gets our heart pumping, and what gets us excited to jump out of bed in the morning.
What can I let slide? There are never enough hours in the day to do everything, absolutely everything, that I have some interest in doing. There is, however, enough time in the day to do everything that I am truly interested in, and that truly matters. Find what you can let slide -and then let it.
Do the consequences have meaning? Every task and project has outcomes and consequences – but consequences don’t matter in and of themselves. What matters is how much those consequences mean to us. If something doesn’t mean anything to you, then regardless of how important it is to others, how impressive it may be or how important it may have been in the past, it may be time to let it go.
You may already know what truly matters in your life – but are finding it difficult to make time for it, and to focus on it. Here are some tips to help you make time for what truly matters:
Do it first. Once you find what truly matters, try to take care of it first before spending time on tasks that matter less to you.
Schedule it in.
Treat it as an emergency. If you’re having trouble letting things slide, or aren’t sure where you can make time, then consider treating your life mission as an emergency. Clear important, but unnecessary items off your schedule for a day – and let them go. Every day that you spend on tasks that don’t matter is a day you can never recover – and that, to me, is an emergency.
Picture of the Day
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
5, 3, 3, 2, 2 handstand pushups
run 5k (3.1 miles) treadmill 21:15
Here is a nice post about goal setting - Zen Habits - Goal Setting
My favorite part is this quote: Keep things as simple as possible if you can. That has the added benefit of allowing you to focus your energies on a small number of goals, making you far more effective with them.
Here is some more from the post:
Brainstorm. If you don’t already have a list of things you’d like to accomplish, start out by making such a list. Throw anything on the list — you don’t actually have to do them. This is just to make sure you don’t miss anything.
The one thing that will change your life the most this year. Now take a look at the list and figure out which goal will change your life the most — within the next year or so. Is it something that can be accomplished in a year? It can take less than a year — one month or three or six if you like. If it will take several years, you might want to create a sub-goal that will take a year or less — any longer and it’s hard to stay motivated. Is it a goal that will really make a big difference in your life? Is it something you REALLY want to achieve? Be sure it’s something you’ll be passionate about, or you’ll lose motivation.
Create a mantra. Once you’ve chosen your goal, turn it into a personal mantra. This is an idea from Guy Kawasaki, who said that a business should abandon a mission statement (which are usually useless) and create a 2-5 word mantra instead (his was something like “empower entrepreneurs”). So use this idea for your personal mantra — how can you put your goal into 2-5 words? Write those words on an index card, or make it your desktop picture/wallpaper, or post it on the wall next to your computer. Do something to ensure that you never forget this mantra — and repeat it out loud every single day.
What can you do this month to make that happen? If your goal will take a year or so to accomplish, you’ll want to create a smaller sub-goal. Figure out a project you can do this month to get yourself a few steps closer to that goal, and focus on this project for the next month.
What can you do today? Each day when you start your day, repeat your mantra and figure out what action you can do today to make your goal closer to becoming a reality. It just has to be one thing. If you do one thing each day, you’ll reach your goal. Some days you can do two things if you like, but don’t overload yourself. Now make sure that one thing is the first thing you do today. Don’t put it off until the end of the day, when it will get pushed back until tomorrow. Do it first!
Five steps might sound like a lot, but in reality you’re just 1) choosing a goal and creating a mantra for it; and 2) focusing on shorter-term actions to make that goal a reality.
Picture of the Day
Monday, December 21, 2009
8, 3, 3, 2, 2, 2 handstand pushups
5 x 20 walking lunges with 45lb dumbells
summit trainer 14 resistance 2.0 miles 27:18
It's Christmas week, so I will post some lighter stuff for the next few days. Everyone is going to want to get serious after January 1, so I will save the hardcore content for then.
First, here is a crazy juggling video. I have no idea how this guy can juggle so many things (e-mail subscribers click here to see the video)
Picture of the Day
Here are some pictures of the Hoover Dam bypass that is being built in Southern Nevada.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Nice post from Zen Habits about relaxing and enjoying life. It's a good list of things to thing about around the holidays:
10 Rules for Slowing Down and Enjoying Life More
Here's the list:
1. Do less. It’s hard to slow down when you are trying to do a million things. Instead, make the conscious choice to do less. Focus on what’s really important, what really needs to be done, and let go of the rest. Put space between tasks and appointments, so you can move through your days at a more leisurely pace. Read more.
2. Be present. It’s not enough to just slow down — you need to actually be mindful of whatever you’re doing at the moment. That means, when you find yourself thinking about something you need to do, or something that’s already happened, or something that might happen … gently bring yourself back to the present moment. Focus on what’s going on right now. On your actions, on your environment, on others around you. This takes practice but is essential.
3. Disconnect. Don’t always be connected. If you carry around an iPhone or Blackberry or other mobile device, shut it off. Better yet, learn to leave it behind when possible. If you work on a computer most of the day, have times when you disconnect so you can focus on other things. Being connected all the time means we’re subject to interruptions, we’re constantly stressed about information coming in, we are at the mercy of the demands of others. It’s hard to slow down when you’re always checking new messages coming in.
4. Focus on people. Too often we spend time with friends and family, or meet with colleagues, and we’re not really there with them. We talk to them but are distracted by devices. We are there, but our minds are on things we need to do. We listen, but we’re really thinking about ourselves and what we want to say. None of us are immune to this, but with conscious effort you can shut off the outside world and just be present with the person you’re with. This means that just a little time spent with your family and friends can go a long way — a much more effective use of your time, by the way. It means we really connect with people rather than just meeting with them.
5. Appreciate nature. Many of us are shut in our homes and offices and cars and trains most of the time, and rarely do we get the chance to go outside. And often even when people are outside, they’re talking on their cell phones. Instead, take the time to go outside and really observe nature, take a deep breath of fresh air, enjoy the serenity of water and greenery. Exercise outdoors when you can, or find other outdoor activities to enjoy such as nature walks, hiking, swimming, etc. Feel the sensations of water and wind and earth against your skin. Try to do this daily — by yourself or with loved ones.
6. Eat slower. Instead of cramming food down our throats as quickly as possible — leading to overeating and a lack of enjoyment of our food — learn to eat slowly. Be mindful of each bite. Appreciate the flavors and textures. Eating slowly has the double benefit of making you fuller on less food and making the food taste better. I suggest learning to eat more real food as well, with some great spices (instead of fat and salt and sugar and frying for flavor).
7. Drive slower. Speedy driving is a pretty prevalent habit in our fast-paced world, but it’s also responsible for a lot of traffic accidents, stress, and wasted fuel. Instead, make it a habit to slow down when you drive. Appreciate your surroundings. Make it a peaceful time to contemplate your life, and the things you’re passing. Driving will be more enjoyable, and much safer. You’ll use less fuel too.
8. Find pleasure in anything. This is related to being present, but taking it a step farther. Whatever you’re doing, be fully present … and also appreciate every aspect of it, and find the enjoyable aspects. For example, when washing dishes, instead of rushing through it as a boring chore to be finished quickly, really feel the sensations of the water, the suds, the dishes. It can really be an enjoyable task if you learn to see it that way. The same applies to other chores — washing the car, sweeping, dusting, laundry — and anything you do, actually. Life can be so much more enjoyable if you learn this simple habit.
9. Single-task. The opposite of multi-tasking. Focus on one thing at a time. When you feel the urge to switch to other tasks, pause, breathe, and pull yourself back. Read more.
10. Breathe. When you find yourself speeding up and stressing out, pause, and take a deep breath. Take a couple more. Really feel the air coming into your body, and feel the stress going out. By fully focusing on each breath, you bring yourself back to the present, and slow yourself down. It’s also nice to take a deep breath or two — do it now and see what I mean. :)
Picture of the Day
Friday, December 18, 2009
6, 4, 3, 2, 2, 2, 1 handstand pushups
treadmill intervals - run 0.25 mile at 5.7 (10:30 min/mile) and then 0.25 mile speed interval. Repeat 6 times for 3 total miles. Interval times:
Interval 1 -- speed 9.0 (6:40 min./mile) -- max HR 152
Interval 2 -- speed 9.5 (6:18 min./mile) -- max HR 158
Interval 3 -- speed 10.0 (6:00 min./mile) -- max HR 165
Interval 4 -- speed 10.5 (5:40 min./mile) -- max HR 177
Interval 5 -- speed 11.0 (5:25 min./mile) -- max HR 179
Interval 6 -- speed 11.0 (5:25 min./mile) -- max HR 180
I finally got my heart rate to hit 180. So far, between the tempo run, the row intervals and the run intervals, today's workout wins for getting my heart rate the highest. I could have run faster, but the treadmill definitely limits my speed. Once the snow melts I will try these intervals at the track, and I will probably get more out of the workout.
Saturday is usually my long run day (around 8 miles). This workout sure felt better than just pounding the treadmill for an hour. We will have to see in the spring if the interval training results in faster race times.
Let's call this Picture of the Day Saturday:
6, 4, 3, 2 handstand pushups
50 walking lunges with 35 lb dumbells
summit trainer 1.0 mile 14 resistance 16:49
I saw my friend Anne at the gym this morning, and she mentioned that she and her friend had set a goal to run 100 miles in December to keep their motivation up during the holidays. This is actually a great thing to do for January too. The tendency with beginning of the year goals is to shoot for things like, "I want to do well in the Reno half marathon in May" or "I want to be able to do 20 pullups by the end of the year".
For the first month, it is usually more productive to have process based goals like:
- Run 100 miles in the month of January
- go to the gym 20 times in the month of January
- do 250 pullups in the month of January
The mistake I see people make regarding New Year's goals is the same mistake people make at the beginning of a race -- they start out too fast and then burn out. Better to pace yourself and remember that 12 months is an awfully long time. Set achievable, process based goals in January, and then reassess on February 1 and refine things from there.
Here are a couple of youtube videos for a Friday (e-mail subscribers click here to see the videos):
The first is strongman Derek Poundstone doing 15 clean and press reps with a 200 lb dumbell.
This next one has a guy doing absolutely insane stuff on a pullup bar.
Picture of the Day
Thursday, December 17, 2009
5, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, 2 handstand pushups
row 500 meter intervals with 1 min. rest between each interval
Interval 1 - 1:43.2, peak HR 159
Rest period 1 - lowest HR 129
Interval 2 - 1:43.9, peak HR 162
Rest period 1 - lowest HR 133
Interval 3 - 1:47.3, peak HR 162
Rest period 1 - lowest HR 132
Interval 4 - 1:48.6, peak HR 166
Rest period 1 - lowest HR 133
Interval 5 - 1:46.8, peak HR 168
Total row time - 8:49.9
1/2 ab circuit
More fun with the heart rate monitor today. I wanted to see how the row intervals affected my heart rate. I was surprised how low the peak numbers were. These row interval hurt a lot more than a hard 4 mile run, but my peak heart rate was not close to what I hit on the run. I was pretty happy with how much my heart rate dropped in the 1 minute rest periods though.
Here is one of those, "age is just a number" articles -- Spark's Eriksen Sets World Powerlifting Record.
Roy Eriksen from Sparks, Nevada is 66 years old, and set 4 world powerlifting records last month. The third oldest competitor in the event, Eriksen set records in the deadlift, squat (507 pounds), bench (297 pounds) and combined total (1,129 pounds).
He was quoted in the article as saying, "Powerlifting is not recognized as a major sport. For me, it's really a personal challenge in terms of my health and taking care of my body. Powerlifting is my chosen way of doing that. If I wasn't competing, I wouldn't have that drive to go to the gym."
Picture of the Day
Here's Roy getting it done in the squat competition:
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
If you do any running at all, you need to read this blog post - Joe Friel - Running Faster.
It includes some great advice regarding improving your running form. Here are some excerpts:
Biomechanically, there are only two things you can do to run faster. You can run with a faster cadence or you can run with a longer stride. The fastest runners in the world, such as the Kenyans, do both of these. The place for you to start in improving your running efficiency is with cadence.
The next time you go to a race or watch one on TV check the cadence of a few select elite runners. To do this count every time a runner’s right foot strikes the road for 20 seconds and then multiply by three. The Kenyans are running at a cadence of 94 to 98 even late in a long race such as a marathon. The others generally have a cadence of 90 to 94. So the only way these lower-cadence runners can keep up with the Kenyans is to lengthen their strides. That’s inefficient because it produces a bit of vertical oscillation. They bounce up and down just a slight bit too much. And since the finish line is in a horizontal plane, energy expended vertically is mostly wasted.
Count your cadence the next time you are out for a run. If you’re like most age group triathletes it will be in the range of 76 to 86. And the slower an age grouper runs the lower their cadence becomes. Elite runners tend to keep their cadence about the same even when running slowly. They’ve trained their nervous systems to fire at a set rate which isn’t appreciably altered by pace.
To minimize foot contact time you need to reduce the angle at which your foot comes in contact with the road surface. If you land on the heel with your toes pointing skyward at about a 30-degree angle, which is common for slower runners, it will take a relatively long time for the foot to be lowered to the pavement and then to rock forward and finally come off the ground at the toes. This will take only a few more milliseconds than had you put your foot down flat on the pavement and then toed off. But those extra milliseconds for each footstrike add up by the finish line.
It’s alright to have a slight heel-first contact with the road. But it should be so slight that someone you’re running at would not be able to see the bottoms of your shoes. You can check this for yourself by having that person shoot a video of you running at the camera. Do you see black soles? If so, you have an exaggerated heel strike. Minimizing it will speed you up.
This is just part of the post, I encourage you to hit the link and read the whole thing. The post also includes drills that you can use to enhance your running form. I have not done the stride counting before (I will do that next time I run), but I have focused on maintaining a more upright running form with faster cadence in the past few months. Trust me, it works.
I have a friend who loves to run, but she often has injury issues with her shins and knees. One day we were looking at some race photos of her, and her form was exactly what was described in the article. A locked knee, heel strike, and you could see the entire bottom of her foot from the front angle. As soon as she corrects the heel strike, I am sure her speed will increase and the nagging injuries will go away.
Running is a skill like anything else. Working to improve technique can make a big difference in your results.
Picture of the Day
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
5, 4, 3, 2, 1 handstand pushups
run 4 miles treadmill 27:50
I decided to try that 4 mile run again and try to get the negative splits right this time (a few days ago I screwed up and went out too fast and couldn't break 7 min/miles). To show the impact of negative split training on heart rate, I wore a heart rate monitor.
Here are the mile split times and my average heart rate for each mile.
Time Avg. Heart Rate
Mile 1 time = 7:15, avg. heart rate = 145
Mile 2 time = 7:00, avg. heart rate = 157
Mile 3 time = 6:55, avg. heart rate = 165
Mile 4 time = 6:40, avg. heart rate = 175
My peak heart rate was 179 near the very end (I couldn't quite get 180). The good news is 2 years ago I couldn't keep my heart rate above 170 for more than a minute and now I can go quite awhile with my heart rate in the high 170's. My resting heart rate used to be in the low 60's, and now it is in the high 40's/low 50's.
This is a video interview with David Goggins, the Navy Seal and ultramarathoner (e-mail subscribers click here to see the video). He talks about the mental aspect of ultramarathons. I really like the point just after the 4 minute mark in the video where he says, "I enter these races to hit the point where I have to make a decision, and to see what kind of decision I am going to make. Usually it is the decision to keep going forward."
Whether it is to keep going at mile 134 of an ultramarathon, or simply whether or not to get out of bed an hour earlier, we all have decisions when it comes to fitness. There is no law that says you have to go to the gym, or run that extra mile, or to even run 150 miles. There are plenty of Americans who live perfectly happy lives and never set foot in a gym.
However, if you have a higher standard, if you want to accomplish things that you never thought possible - then make the decision to take the next step. Whether that is to start eating right, or join a gym for the first time, or to add one more interval workout, do a little bit more today than you did yesterday. You will be amazed where that next step will take you.
Picture of the Day
Monday, December 14, 2009
6, 3, 3, 2 handstand pushups
50 walking lunges with 30 lb dumbells
summit trainer 12 resistance 30 minutes 2.28 miles
My training program next year will center on intense, typically 30 minute or less, workouts. I enjoy this style of training, and while it is counterintuitive, I think I can accomplish even my distance race goals with this program.
I will post some articles in the next couple of weeks that support my belief that interval training can help you become competitive in distance running. The first one is from a subscription based, copyright protected website, so I can't post the article, but I can give you the basics.
Shane Skowron is a 20 year old man who ran a 100 mile race this year in 28 hours and 26 minutes. During his training for the race, he seldom ran more than five kilometers at a time, averaging 20 miles a week. Prior to the 100 mile race, his longest run was a single 50 mile race.
Shane follows the Crossfit training program, which essentially involves a lot of high intensity weightlifting and short, interval training. Most Crossfit workouts take less than 20 minutes. He supplemented the main crossfit workouts with short, interval based running work at a different time during the same day.
He maintains a very detailed training blog that tracks all of his workouts here -- Shane's Training. He relied on the Crossfit Endurance website (a take off from the original crossfit concept) for his running workouts. As you can see from the site, Crossfit Endurance provides daily interval based training ideas for running, cycling and rowing.
He listed his daily training log in the article. He ran more than five kilometers only 13 times in the seven months before the race. Two of those occasions were 50 kilometer races in January and in April. One of them was a 10 mile run followed by 30 mile walk. He says one run was 13.1 miles, and the rest were 10 miles or less. All other runs were short intervals and time trials.
He used other people for his inspiration that this could work. One person he referenced was Ultrarunner Matt Mahoney who apparently does three runs per week for a weekly average of 20 miles. He’s built an impressive ultrarunning resume that includes the Hardrock 100. He also references other ultrarunners have completed 100-milers on weekly maintenance mileages of 30 to 40 miles, often supplemented by other modes of training.
Philosophically, his approach was that heavy weightlifting such as high intensity deadlifts, squats, plyometrics and sprints would strengthen his legs so they could take the beating of a 100 mile race. He says that he had little soreness the day after the race, which frankly I have trouble believing.
Either way, this person appears pretty legitimate. Probably just a good example of what the human body can accomplish if you put your mind to it. It says on his blog that his best 1 mile time is 5:20, so this approach apparently helped him get fast too. Regardless, I am not planning on running any 100 mile races next year, so if this approach worked for him, it probably will be ok for me.
Picture of the Day
I got this from the Crossfit Endurance site that advocates short, interval based training, even for long distance running. They included this picture with the caption - any questions?
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
6, 3, 2, 2, 2 handstand pushups
500 meter row intervals with 1 min. rest between each interval:
1:49.3, 1:50.2, 1:49.2, 1:51.9, 1:48.9, 1:52.5, 1:52.1, 1:52.0, 1:51.2, 1:48.4
total time 18:25.7
1/2 ab circuit
Since there is about a foot of snow outside here in Reno (I'm glad the indoor rower is in my basement), here is an article with some indoor conditioning ideas.
Ross Training Indoor Conditioning Options
Here is the main part of the article:
Sample Indoor Roadwork Week
Monday: Interval training via jump rope, stationary bike, or Versa Climber
•5 x 60 seconds (full speed) - allow 30 to 60 seconds of rest between intervals
•5 x 30 seconds (full speed) - allow 15 to 30 seconds of rest between intervals
•Finish with one set of bodyweight squats (ex. 100 reps)
Tuesday: Burpee intervals
Perform 4 to 6 rounds. Each round should range from 2 to 3-minutes, depending on the condition of the athlete.
Wednesday: Jump rope x 20-minutes (continuous)
Integrate various jump rope drills. Examples include:
•High knee running in place
Throughout the 20-minute session, integrate fast paced bursts (ex. double unders) with less intense skipping patterns. This rope session will simulate a fartlek running session.
Thursday: Interval training and Tabata intervals
•5 x 60 seconds (full speed) - allow 30 to 60 seconds of rest between intervals
•Finish with one round of Tabata bodyweight squats
Interval training can be performed with countless tools (ex. jump rope, stationary bike, Concept 2 rower, Versa Climber machine, etc.).
Tabata intervals are to be performed with 8 x 20 second work periods, each separated by 10 seconds of rest.
Friday: Minute drills
•Burpees x 30 seconds
•Jumping jacks x 30 seconds
•Split jumps x 30 seconds
•Repeat (total time = 3 minutes)
•Rest 30 to 60 seconds and complete 4 to 6 rounds
Saturday: Jump rope x 20-minutes (Same as Wednesday)
Sunday: Rest day
Picture of the Day
After all of that, you will look like this:
Friday, December 11, 2009
Steve (you can read more about Steve here) passed along a good article about discipline during the holidays. Here is the link - VeloNews Discipline. The site won't let me copy any text over, so just hit the link to see the article.
Picture of the Day
Thursday, December 10, 2009
6, 2, 3 handstand pushups
run 4 miles treadmill 28:22
A couple of days ago I was talking about running negative splits on the treadmill. Today was an example of doing it the wrong way.
I was pretty fired up and figured it would be easy to break 7 min./mile for 4 miles. Here were my mile splits - mile 1: 7:05, mile 2: 6:55, mile 3 7:05, mile 4 7:17. I hit a wall in the 3rd mile, and had to back off the pace (actually that was how I ran most of my races this year, which is why my times sucked).
The total times aren't that much different - probably only 30 seconds slower than if I had run negative splits - but the feeling for the workout is much different. You feel much better increasing speed the entire workout than you do if you hit the wall and have to back off.
I should have started slower, and I would have felt that today wasn't a strong day and I would have run 28:30 and felt a lot better about it. I used to make the mistake of putting a number in my head before I started a workout all the time. I have been better about it lately, but not today.
Like most people, I have been a bit of a diet slacker this month. And like most people, Jen and I plan to get serious after the first of the year. We have had the most success with the Body for Life diet, and we will use it again next year.
Body for Life is designed as a workout and eating program, but we just focus on the diet part. The program makes common sense and is easy to follow. Here is a link with a ton of specifics (Body for Life diet), and here is the summary:
Body for Life Diet
The Body for Life diet works this way. For 12 weeks, people eat five or six small meals a day. The meals consist of a portion of lean, protein-rich food, and a portion of unrefined or whole-grain carbohydrates In addition, at least two meals daily must include a vegetable portion, and the diet should be supplemented by one tablespoon daily of oil high in monounsaturated fats A portion is defined as the being equal to the size and thickness of the dieter’s hand (protein) or fist (carbohydrates and vegetables). Dieters estimate portion size rather than measuring.
Approved proteins include lean poultry, most fish and seafood, egg whites, low-fat cottage cheese, and, unlike many diets, lean beef and ham. For vegetarians, approved proteins include tempeh, soy, textured vegetable protein, and seitan. Vegetarians will have a hard time meeting the protein requirements of this diet. Vegans will most likely not be able to.
Approved carbohydrates include baked potato, sweet potato, both brown and white rice, pasta, whole wheat bread, whole wheat tortillas, dried beans, oatmeal, and whole grains such as quinoa. Also included in the approved carbohydrates list are apples, melon, strawberries, oranges, and corn. This is a much less restrictive list of carbohydrates than appears in many diets.
Approved vegetables include lettuce, tomato, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, spinach, mushrooms, zucchini, peas, bell peppers, celery, and onions. All are to be served as plain vegetables without sauce. The daily oil allotment can come from salad dressing.
The fats requirement of this diet can be met with unsaturated oils such as canola, olive, safflower, or flaxseed, but also through eating salmon three times a week or with avocados, natural peanut butter, or a handful of nuts or seeds daily.
In addition to allowed foods, the dieter is required to drink 10 or more glasses of water daily.
The diet is to be followed rigorously for six days. On the seventh day, the dieter can eat anything he or she wants.
This is all common sense, but it is easy to follow and allows for a lot of variety in food choices. They also have a great cookbook called Eating for Life that we use practically every night. It has great recipes that are easy to make and follow the Body for Life diet theme.
Often people overthink the specifics of a diet program. You know what you should eat, and you know how much you should be eating - the key is implementation. For us, Body for Life is the easiest and most effective way for us to implement a good diet program.
Picture of the Day
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
7, 3, 2, 2 handstand pushups
400 meters walking lunges 14:43
summit trainer 12 resistance 1 mile 13:42
I decided to try the walking lunge workout, and it wasn't as bad as I thought. My legs were definitely pumped, but there wasn't any major muscle burn or anything like that. I will have to go faster next time. I do think this will be a good workout (along with heavy dumbell walking lunges) to help with leg strength for running.
Here is an interview with a weighlifting coach: Dan John - Bigger, Better, Faster, Longer. He believes cardio workouts should be weightlifting based. Its a different perspective that is interesting to read.
Here are some excerpts:
•If you do 115 pounds in the Tabata front squat, you will not at the end of those 4 minutes look at me and say, "Now what do I do for the next 4 minutes?"
No, you're going to do what I did when I used to do these in my driveway. You're going to lay there on the ground with your dog sniffing at you, worried about your life. You do not repeat a true Tabata workout.
It's an act of will to finish the last two minutes. You should be looking at the clock and thinking, "Only one more minute until I have one more minute!" That's a Tabata workout.
•I have a rule for my sprinters here at school. It's the 1200 meter rule. In a normal workout they are never to run more than 1200 quality meters. People come to my workouts and say they don't understand the rule. Oh yeah? Then go run a 52-second quarter mile. And then do another one, and then another one. Take an hour and a half to do it. You will never ever want to do that workout again.
• The lactic acid hit of the last 100 meters of a 400 is so big that to get athletes to run that again takes everything I know as a coach.
•You really want to ramp up EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption)? Do one 400 meter as fast as you can. The lactic acid you're going to build up, and the furnace you're going to stoke, is going to stay with you for days. You'll cough your lungs up for hours. You work up to 1200 meters per workout and I can't imagine your body fat ever being over 9%. It's the best fat-loss program I know.
• The hardest workouts of my life were done on bets. I once squatted 315 pounds for 30 reps, then 275 for 30, then 226 for 30. All in one workout. Yeah, that was a bet.
• I also squatted 225 pounds for 50 reps one time. Someone bet me that I couldn't do that for 25 reps, so I doubled it. Then I was able to say, "See, I told you I could do it." I didn't walk correctly for days.
Picture of the Day
Here is a picture of Dan John (the person interviewed in the article):
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
6, 3, 2 handstand pushups
summit trainer 14 resistance 30 minutes 1.92 miles
A couple of days ago someone asked for some more detail on my treadmill run. Here is the question and response: 12/5 workout comments. I don't know who asked this question, but anyone who can do a 7 minute half mile on a 15% incline on the treadmill has my respect.
For today, with the summit trainer I am trying to cover the same distance in 30 minutes, but at higher and higher resistance. My goal is to do 2 miles in 30 minutes. So when that gets easy at a certain resistance level, I increase the resistance. The last 15 minutes or so of this workout is a serious sufferfest. Today was my first time at 14 resistance, and since I didn't make it 2 miles, so I will have to stay at this level for a few weeks.
I came across this workout awhile ago, and have been meaning to try it (Crossfit workout of the day). It is my kind of workout - very simple and brutal. You simply do 400 meters (one lap of a track) of walking lunges for the fastest time possible.
If you go to the link, it seems that the times are between 10 and 20 minutes. I almost tried it today, but frankly I was a bit afraid of the leg burn that I think this will produce. Maybe I will try it in a few days.
Picture of the Day
Monday, December 7, 2009
7, 3, 3, 1 handstand pushups
row 10,000 meters (5) 42:20
Have you started to think about your 2010 goals yet? There are two directions you can take with December diet and training. You can not train at all and stuff as much bad food as possible in your mouth with the idea that, "I will be good in January". Or, you can train lightly and at least be aware of your diet. The second approach makes it a lot easier to fire up in January.
Along those lines, I find it is helpful to start to build a list in December of the events or accomplishments you are going to focus on in the coming year. This helps keep me focused on not eating too much candy around the holidays.
I am thinking I will run a 10k in May, run (not hike) the Mount Rose Summit (about 10 miles, 2000 feet elevation gain) in June, do a half marathon in July, and run Half Dome in Yosemite (about 14 miles, 4800 feet elevation gain) in August, then run a 5 mile race and a 10k in September.
That list gives me something to focus on each month, and provides a lot of variety in events. Other than that, just continue to have fun, focus on interval training, and try to work up to 10 freestanding handstand pushups. I will probably refine these goals in the coming weeks, as I will be posting a lot about goals as we near the end of the year.
On the subject of diet, here is a good article about nutrition. It is built around 7 rules of nutrition. The link and the 7 rules are included below:
7 Rules of Good Nutrition
1. Eat every 2-3 hours, no matter what. You should eat between 5-8 meals per day.
2. Eat complete (containing all the essential amino acids), lean protein with each meal.
3. Eat fruits and/or vegetables with each food meal.
4. Ensure that your carbohydrate intake comes from fruits and vegetables. Exception: workout and post-workout drinks and meals.
5. Ensure that 25-35% of your energy intake comes from fat, with your fat intake split equally between saturates (e.g. animal fat), monounsaturates (e.g., olive oil), and polyunsaturates (e.g. flax oil, salmon oil).
6. Drink only non-calorie containing beverages, the best choices being water and green tea.
7. Eat mostly whole foods (except workout and post-workout drinks).
So what about calories, or macronutrient ratios, or any number of other things that I’ve covered in other articles? The short answer is that if you aren’t already practicing the above-mentioned habits, and by practicing them I mean putting them to use over 90% of the time (i.e., no more than 4 meals out of an average 42 meals per week violate any of those rules), everything else is pretty pointless.
Picture of the Day
Saturday, December 5, 2009
6, 4, 2, 1, 1 handstand pushups
run 8 miles treadmill 57:55
Since we've had so many new Consistency Wins readers in the last month or so (thanks for reading!), I thought I would devote a post to some of the better stuff from the earlier days of the blog.
6/23 workout - A quick post with some advice about pain management from a professional mountain biker
7/27 workout - Alternating hard and easy training days
Gym Jones Remake Remodel - this is a link from the 7/25 workout post. It talks about why you have to push yourself hard to make progress.
7/23 workout - includes some great running tools from the web (includes the race time equivalent calculator, which is a very fun tool)
7/20 workout - love the youtube video in this post. Try that pool trick sometime.
7/13 workout - an article about "greasing the groove" to increase your reps in specific exercises. I am using the program for handstand pushups right now.
Again Faster - Don't Quit - a link from the 7/11 workout post about pushing your limits.
Picture of the Day
Friday, December 4, 2009
6, 4, 2 handstand pushups
summit trainer 12 resistance 30 minutes 2.40 miles
I know of a few Consistency Wins readers who are running the California International Marathon this weekend. Good luck! Just think of all of the Christmas cookies you will be able to eat after you finish the race.
One of the most effective ways to increase your metabolism, lose weight and enhance your overall fitness level is interval training. You will get significantly more benefit from a painful 20 minute interval session than you will from 45 minutes of long, slow cardio where you are reading a magazine the whole time.
But the key is that the interval training has to hurt - a lot - to do some good. If you are going to get an hour's worth of training benefit from 15 minutes of work, that 15 minutes needs to be intense. If you are doing it right, even a 4 minute workout can leave you gasping on the floor. If you can stand up after the session is over, you didn't work hard enough.
One of the best parts of interval training is you need very little time, and little to no equipment to do it. So even if you only have 10-15 minutes and you can't get to the gym, you have no excuse not to get a quality workout in.
With that in mind, here are some interval training ideas.
1. 100 burpees for time. See this link for more information on burpees. This is possibly the most effective (and painful) total body workout I have ever done. Total time = about 7-9 minutes.
2. 100 meter sprints. Go to the track, sprint 100 meters, walk back to the start, and repeat 8 -10 times. If you are really fired up, before each sprint do 20-25 pushups.
3. Tabata Intervals. Tabata was a Japanese speed skating coach who developed an intense interval program that takes only 4 minutes. You go all out (I mean ALL out) for 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, and the repeat 8 times for a total of 4 minutes. In my experience, this works best for sprints, but in this article (Dan John Tabata Intervals), he recommends front squats or thrusters (more information on those in the article).
Four minutes doesn't sound like much -- until you try it. As quoted in the Tabata article linked above, "This training method is so simple, yet so incredibly difficult, that athletes tend to try it once, acknowledge its greatness, and then vow to never speak its name again."
I have done Tabatas for sprint intervals (only a few times though - they really hurt), and if you do it right, it ranks pretty high on the pain scale. It's one of those "prepare to meet your God" pain experiences.
According to the research, it is an extremely effective exercise. This is from wikipedia:
A popular regimen based on a 1996 study uses 20 seconds of ultra-intense exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated continuously for 4 minutes (8 cycles). In the original study, athletes using this method trained 4 times per week, plus another day of steady-state training, and obtained gains similar to a group of athletes who did steady state training 5 times per week.
Studies by Tabata and others have explored the effectiveness of this method compared to traditional endurance training methods. A study demonstrated 2.5 hours of sprint interval training produced similar biochemical muscle changes to 10.5 hours of endurance training and similar endurance performance benefits.
4. See this link for a number of additional interval circuits. Here is just one of them from the article:
Alternate between these two exercises without resting. For your first round, do 10 repetitions of each exercise. For your second round, do nine reps. Then do eight reps for your third round, and so on. Go as low as you can, or until you reach zero. Each week, raise your starting rep count by one—so if you did reach zero, you'll start with 11 repetitions for the second week.
1 Body-weight jump squat
2. Explosive pushup: Assume a pushup position, your hands slightly beyond shoulder width. Your body should form a straight line from your ankles to your head. Bend your elbows and lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. Press yourself up with enough force that your hands leave the floor.
So there you go - no excuses. All you need is four minutes.
Picture of the Day
Thursday, December 3, 2009
7, 3, 2 handstand pushups
row 5000 meters 20:11.5
1/2 ab circuit
One of the fun things that happens when people who share an interest in fitness get together is they share stories about training ideas, races, diet experiences etc. My goal with these profiles is to try and replicate the same concept through this blog (I have more "volunteers" lined up for future profiles).
My favorite part of these profiles is the variety in each person's diet and training program. It is amazing how many different ways there are to pursue the same goal of improved health and fitness.
Justin is Steve's brother (Steve's profile is here). Their family has a high level of dedication in their genes, because both these guys are serious about their training. I am most impressed with Justin's enthusiasm, discipline and commitment. His level of commitment to diet and training is off the charts. I really liked hearing about his struggles to get out of bed at 4 am (and I thought I was cool because I got up at 4:30), and the mental effort he puts into his workouts.
As you can tell from the profile below, Justin excels at diet management. Justin is a real world example of the commitment you need to make if you want to stick to a truly healthy diet.
Justin uses a website called sparkpeople.com to track his diet. It is a very cool tool. It also is sort of a diet community where you can interact with other people who are tracking their diet on the website. I included a sample sparkpeople report from one day of Justin's diet below. It is impressive.
I usually ask each person I profile to discuss their training philosophy, what they have learned from their experiences, and any advice they would have for others. Justin was nice enough to type everything up for me, so you can read it all below in his own words. Thanks again Justin!
I am a big believer that overall fitness is based on 80% diet, 20% exercise, and an extra 10% for the mental aspect (so 110% does exist!). This is why I focus mainly on my diet, that way if my schedule gets too crazy and I slack off with the exercise part, I don’t really feel like I lost any ground on my overall fitness goals. Plus, I don’t give a damn who you are, if you exercise you face off and eat shitty you might be fit, but you sure won’t look like it!
Let me just start off by saying I am a creature of habit, I find a meal plan that works and I will eat it day in and day out for months (Ken's note - this consistency is such a key to success for diet and exercise. Long term training and diet success requires a level of repetition that many people would consider very boring).
People in my office are always making fun of my large bags of raw broccoli and chicken breast. I am thinking about putting my chicken breasts on popsicle sticks, it would make it a lot easier to eat and maybe I can even sell them. I cook all my food for the week on Sunday this way my mornings are not spent making breakfast and my meals for the day.
I also attempt to stick with foods that have less than five ingredients and are organic (maybe I am a sucker -- who knows), I just think that too much bullshit is added to food these days. I also drink one cup of black coffee and over 100oz of water a day, I will drink a small glass of juice after I lift for some quick carbs.
When I get bored (which rarely happens) I will log into SparkPeople.com and make sure my food changes are still in line with my dietary goals. I can relate to the last profile you did on Brad, I am good 5 to 6 days of the week. I have to have some splurge meals otherwise I will go crazy and when I actually do splurge it may very well turn into a binge. It is not going to look or feel good when I down two double doubles from In-n-Out, a coke, and some cake -and maybe top it all off with a copious amount of beer.
I just started P90X a few weeks ago and so far it is awesome (1% body fat lost so far, which is not bad). I like it because it is scheduled and at this point in my life I need a strict schedule. Right when it starts to get a little boring the workouts are switched up adding a bit of excitement. I also control the intensity, they actually give me variations if I am not feeling 100%, but of course I always take the hard route because I am too damn competitive (see the mental part below)!!
Another great way I get in some cardio is by owning two Labradors, I feel horrible if I am not exercising them daily since they are inside all day while my wife and I are at work. I found the only way to drain any of their energy is with my beach cruiser, which I use to run them for about 30 mins. I am the creepy guy with the face mask on (15 mph at 23 degrees is pretty damn cold!) at 4 or 5 in the morning hauling ass around South Meadows with two crazy ass dogs in pursuit. I am sure I burn a few calories -- it is better than nothing.
Mental (that extra 10%):
Even though this is a small percentage I believe it will make or break my fitness goals. It is the part that brings everything together. Anyone can go into a gym and “workout”, but if you are doing it half ass then what is the point!
I sure don’t jump out of bed a 4:00 am, I lay there debating in my head if I should get up….it is too cold….I could use that extra few hours of sleep…..99% of the time I get out of bed (we all have bad days!). I shed a few tears on the way, but if I am going to drag my ass out of bed I am sure not going to cheat myself out of a great workout.
I always have that mental breaking point when I am working out, just when I start telling myself that one more rep or one more minute might kill me (I guess I can rest when I am dead) that is when that 10% kicks in and I do one maybe two more just for fun and because I am slightly crazy!!!! I know that my body always has more than what my mind is saying it has, I just have to dig for it.
Things I have learned this year (very late this year unfortunately):
1. Don’ t compare yourself to other people. We all have that asshole friend that can eat decently and barely workout and still have 10% body fat. I now focus on myself because at the end of the day it is me vs. the world anyways.
2. Don’t set too many goals. I learned this the hard way, I had all sorts of goals, I wanted to do this and that and then this, but I never accomplished any of them! That was because all my energy was spread too thin. I now only have a few goals, plus they are easier to keep track of.
Example of Justin's Daily Diet
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
7, 3, 1 handstand pushups
run 5 miles treadmill 35:48
Here is a short post about setting goals. Dan John - Goal Setting Tips
I copied the whole thing here:
Goal Setting Tips
First, put it out there: Tell people what you want to do and enlist them to help. Talk to people who've done what you're attempting. Let them know what you want to do. Two, start acting like you've already achieved the goal. Hit the beach like you lost those ten pounds or buy new clothes with the goal in mind. (The brain is easy to fool; just go to Disneyland and look at what people wear.) Start acting like you've accomplished something and, often before you know it, you've accomplished it!
Also, here is a crazy parkour video. It starts to get really good at the 1:10 point. The handstands are amazing. And then the wall jump at 2:19 is just scary. (e-mail subscribers click here to see the video)
Picture of the Day
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
There tends to be two approaches to workout frequency. There are the people who have to force themselves to work out, and if given the opportunity, they would rather skip a day than hit the gym. And then there are people who want to work out every day and have a hard time skipping a workout or taking a rest day. This post is for the second group.
I definitely fall into the group that has a hard time taking days off. I enjoy training, and even on days where I have a planned day off, I still have the itch to do something. To make things worse, I tend to train at a pretty high intensity level, which makes rest and recovery even more important. Not focusing on rest led to me becoming overtrained and burned out a couple of months ago.
Since then, I have tried to be better about mixing in more light workouts and rest days. I used to push myself so hard that I eventually was forced to rest. Now I try to take a rest day one day before I need it. Today is a great example. I could have easily trained one more day, thrashed my body and then taken tomorrow off. But instead I rested a day early, and I am already fired up both mentally and physically to hit the gym tomorrow.
Another good trick is to really focus on your diet on your rest days. On your rest day, use the time that you would have spent training to prepare meals for the rest of the week, shop for good food etc. In addition, make sure your eat very clean on your rest days. That way you will be doing something productive for your health and fitness and won't feel bad that you didn't train that day.
So try to mix in a rest day or a light day one day prior to when you think you will actually need it. And on that rest day, focus on eating clean. Your training motivation will go up a ton.
Here is a good article by Dan John about rest and recovery - Dan John A Novel Approach to Rest Periods
My teacher went to the board and put up four words where North, South, East, and West would be on a compass. They were "play," "pray," "rest," and "work." She made a simple point: In life, these four things must be balanced.
There's also a lot to be said for "active rest." It's a term that's been around for decades, but is still overlooked. It's this idea: For a few weeks, instead of doing your basic training, get involved in some other activity. Famously, the Soviet athletes got into volleyball, so much so that several weightlifters achieved Masters of Sport in the game. The German discus throwers used to enjoy downhill skiing, and it's hard to imagine American athletes who don't enjoy pickup basketball games. Enjoy active rest long enough to realize that your gifts are probably not good enough for the NBA.
So, when I get asked about rest, I get lost in this continuum. From literally death to the details of a small part of a workout, rest means a lot to me. It shouldn't be considered something to do when you're done, but one should actively think about resting.
1. I'm not against giving advice about rest periods between sets; it's just that I think there are many other keys to discuss before I tell you that you need 118 seconds between sets of reverse sumo curls in the Smith machine.
2. Since most of the information concerning rest is free (no one charges you for sleep), there's no market, and therefore, you don't hear much about it.
3. Truly, any balance you bring to your training is going to help. Taking the time and effort to intelligently add rest is going to pay off better than buying a new curl machine.
Picture of the Day